One of the first things many national governments in Africa did when faced with the first cases of COVID-19 was to close the schools. This closure has affected about 300 million African learners, who since have had to rely on alternative means of continuing their schooling, such as radio, TV, and online platforms.
Digitalization and Inequality
The main problem for Africa is that access to digital technology, not to mention affordable and reliable Internet coverage, remains unevenly distributed. Even with notable improvement in communications infrastructure in the past few years, Internet penetration in Africa still lags far behind the global average, at just 39.3 percent as of March 2020 compared with the rest of the world at 62.9 percent.
Africa has the most expensive mobile data in the world.
Window of Opportunity
The COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity for educators and administrative bodies to assess current gaps in delivering quality education to the continent’s most marginalized communities. As African heads of state petition international financial institutions and other countries for aid to help them through the pandemic, perhaps there can be special funds established exclusively for the purpose of improving at-home educational tools, especially for families where both parents must work full time and lack the means to assist their children with schoolwork.